Millions of Americans enjoy arts performances. That was evident from the number of performing arts centers built in the last decade, the boom in theater companies and the alarm when a symphony or dance group encounters financial distress.
But new data from the researchers at the National Endowment for the Arts dug a little deeper into those habits. Primarily, a good number of the 1.5 million Americans who go to arts performances on an given day bring someone along. Less than 7 percent go alone – 41 percent have a companion and 54 percent bring a family member. They usually spend 2.7 hours at the event.
The visits and spending are supporting a sizeable industry. Using numbers from a census report, the NEA described the performing arts industry as a robust one, using data collected in 2007 right before the economic downturn, with nearly 8, 840 organizations with 127, 648 paid workers, generating nearly $13.6 billion in annual revenues.
The report showed how tightly the nonprofit sector of the larger pool operates with $5.6 billion in revenue and $5.2 billion in expenses. Theater and opera companies are the biggest earners and spenders. In 2007 theaters, including dinner theaters and opera companies, employed the majority of the workers.
Source: Washington Post